SEO News Roundup: What Happened to In-Depth Articles?

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Tom Williams brings us all the latest search engine optimisation news, including a 17-day outage of in-depth articles, new Search Console email notification features, slimmed down local boxes and the dangers of old school SEO.

Google In-depth Articles Return to SERPs

After a 17-day outage, Google in-depth articles have returned to the search results. On 9 April, it was reported by many SEOs that in-depth articles had completely dropped out of the search results. 17 days later on 26 April they had been seen to have made a return. Search Engine Land news editor, Barry Schwartz suspected that the disappearance of in-depth articles was due to a bug that has now been fixed by Google. Mozcast features tool tracked the disappearance of in-depth articles over time. The graph below shows the drop out and subsequent return of in-depth articles.

In-depth articles Mozcast graph

Google Search Console Allows Webmasters To Unsubscribe From Email Notifications

Google has added a new feature to its search console that allows webmasters to unsubscribe from certain email notifications sent by Google. This new feature was first announced on Google+ when Google said: “We’ve added a new feature to help you tailor the type of messages you receive.” This screenshot shows the option to mute or unmute notifications at will in the Search Console preferences page.

Search Console screen shot

Google - Redirects Can be Removed After Pages Are Indexed

Google logo

On 27 April, Google’s Gary Illyes said on Twitter that old redirects can be removed “if the new page is indexed.” He added that the best practice is to keep the redirect indefinitely. However, if the htaccess file is getting too big and is becoming an issue, removing the redirect after the new page is indexed (and serves as the old URL) is also fine because the link strength from the old redirects will have already been passed on to the new site. Gary also mentioned that “you will not get credited for any new links if the old page is non-existent / doesn’t redirect.”

Google Tests a Slimmed Down Local Box

SEO specialist, Sergey Alakov posted a screenshot on Twitter showing what is believed to be a slimmed down local box test. Searching for a local company will normally present you with a branded company box showing images, opening times, address, phone number and a few more features. However, the one shown by Sergey Alakov presents a slimmed down version, with only a few of the usual features.

Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz believes it could be a test purposely slimming down the local box as a way of increasing page load speed due to poor connection. Although it could just be a general UI test by Google.

Google Testing Light Blue Links In SERPs

Google is constantly running tests regarding user interface changes. The search engine recently ran a test in which it changed the colour of the hyperlink titles in the search results. The page titles had been spotted in a much lighter shade of blue than the usual hyperlinks. The first person to spot this was an SEO at Lindar, Phil Blackwell who posted a screenshot on Twitter showing the colour change:

New Google links

Whiteboard Friday – The Dangers of Old School SEO

Rand Fishkin used last week’s Whiteboard Friday presentation to identify eight old school SEO practices he says should be discarded in favour of new alternatives.

More Search Engine Optimisation News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO News Roundup: When Will Google Launch the New Penguin Update?

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